Not Mushroom For Improvement: Linguine

oystermushroomsThere are plenty of reasons to love mushrooms.

We eat mushrooms as a main course quite often. While I would never say we use mushrooms to replace meat in some meals (because that goes against my whole belief system–I never use stand-ins, I believe in using the real thing). I would say, however, that mushrooms can be such a satisfyingly complete experience that they are the main event in some recipes.

Take this simple pasta dish. Linguine & Oyster Mushroom Sauce. I am taking these gorgeous (and healthy) oyster mushrooms and quickly sauteing them olive oil and butter. I’ll add a bit of contrast with the bright tones of sweet vermouth. And make it a complete meal with the addition of arugula and linguine. That’s it, dinner is done. Well, salt and pepper and NOW dinner is done.

I have asked my brother Grant to do a wine pairing. I’ll put together a fennel salad and get this on the table while you read some more interesting information on mushrooms. 

There is a book that has been floating around my house for quite sometime. It is called Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Save the World. Paul Stamets wrote it in 2005, and it is something I considered a boring work-related bit of reading destined to stay on the BF’s side of the bed.

Click For More On Michele ChiareloClick For More On Michele ChiareloIn my world mushrooms are for eating. They pair wonderfully with pinot noir and can transform a cream sauce. 

That was all I felt I needed to know. But lately so much is being said about mushrooms and their amazingly complex benefits to our world. I mean, you can’t live on this planet and not be aware that mushrooms are teaming with medicinal compounds we are just beginning to understand. For example oyster mushrooms are now said to have cardiovascular and cholesterol controlling benefits. Cool. 

But then I read this quote about the book from Kevin Kelly (whose blog I sometimes read when I am feeling overwhelmed by technology and our rapidly changing world) something clicked.
 â€œMushrooms as solution. Fungi as ninja warriors. That’s what this spirited, hyperkinetic book offers. Mushrooms as solutions to pollution (mycological remediation), fungi as a soil supplements for vegetables (companion planting), and as a source of human medical nutrition (harvested from inoculated logs, sawdust, cardboard) — in other words, mushrooms to save the world. It’s sort of crazy, far fetched … but not. There [are] a lot of original ideas in this thickly illustrated book, with some fantastic visions, but all of it surrounded by deep strands of very practical how-to advice. How to grow fungi in your yard, or in toxic waste dumps, or anywhere. The author claims that the running mycelium of mushrooms were the first internet, and after you see what fungi can really do, you’ll believe him. This book is about how to employ fungi to get things done. Mushrooms as overlooked tools.”

After reading that I found myself routing around the BF’s ever growing stack of books with titles like: The End of Oil, Hot Flat and Crowded, and Green to Gold to get my hands on Mycelium Running.

There is not one recipe in this book. But it will blow your mind. In a nutshell, mushrooms have a natural ability to break down many types of material and recycle it into soil. What the author has discovered is that we can use mushroom’s (mycelium) natural digestive powers and target it to dispose of toxic waste and pollution. And the end result is food! Food in the form of delicious mushrooms…or if you are really lucky Linguine & Oyster Mushroom Sauce.

arugula in a bowloyster mushroom linguine


Greg Henry